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Research at Boston College

Intellectual Property Agreement

The University's Intellectual Property Policy requires all those who may make an intellectual contribution to a project sponsored by external funds to sign an Intellectual Property Agreement (IPA). This includes faculty, research staff, and graduate students. The IPA needs to be signed one time since the original is kept on file at OSP and applies to all future sponsored agreements in which the individual may participate.

Stemming from a requirement in federal patent law, Boston College, like virtually all universities, has applied the IPA to all sponsored projects irrespective of whether the sponsor is a federal agency or a nonfederal organization. Among the reasons for generally applying the requirement are equity in treatment of intellectual property and that in many disciplines federal and nonfederal funding are often co-mingled, thus making it impossible to identify which type of funding caused the creation of intellectual property.

Essentially, the IPA states that the individual signing the agreement will abide by the University's Intellectual Property Policy and the terms and conditions of sponsored projects. The University, in turn, states that it will not accept any intellectual property terms in sponsored agreements that are objectionable to the Principal Investigator of the project.

When a proposal is submitted to a sponsor, the Principal Investigator signs the Proposal Transmittal Form that contains a statement that he or she has signed an IPA and will ensure that all those working on the project have signed one as well. At the time an award is received, the OSP staff will verify that the Principal Investigator has signed an IPA and will remind him or her that it is vital that others working on the project must also sign an IPA as well. The latter significantly helps to ensure compliance with the terms of all sponsored agreements. If the Principal Investigator of a sponsored project does not already have a signed IPA on file, he or she must sign one prior to an account being established or amended for any new or continuation award.

Please contact the Office for Sponsored Programs if you have any questions about the IPA or the Intellectual Property Policy.
Email:  Phone: 617-552-3344.